I must say that I was somewhat anxious before driving up Haleakala again. On my first visit five years ago while on my honeymoon with my wife, I drove through some of the worst weather conditions I have ever seen while headed to the summit for sunrise. Luckily, this time it was crystal clear on my early morning drive. I arrived way ahead of schedule (since I had anticipated a frightful drive to Haleakala National Park’s Hosmer Grove) so I was able to spend a little time birding in this seemingly out of place environment. Hosmer Grove was replanted with exotic coniferous trees in the early 20th century after all of the native trees had been harvested. It is hard to blame Hosmer, as they did not really understand at the time the importance of native flora and were trying to create a viable timber industry. While these are not native trees, some of the more numerous endemic species (not that any of the species are really common) call Hosmer Grove home. It was there that I was reminded of why these little birds hold a special place in my heart. I was greeted by the songs of ‘Apapane and ‘I’iwi as they flitted about in their glowing red plumages.
|An 'Apapani perched high in a tree.|
|A sign at the start of the boardwalk.|
|A blurry but identifiable photo of the Kiwikiu that we found!|
Up until 2010, I would not have been able to use a Hawaiian name for this species. There was either never a traditional name for the Parrotbill or more likely, the name had just been lost over the years. Hawaiian scholars created the new Hawaiian name for the Parrotbill and held a renaming ceremony right in the very spot where we saw the bird!
Please visit my personal blog, www.blog.nuttybirder.com, next week to read more about my visit to Waikamoi and the rest of my Hawaiian birding adventures!